Sunday June 22 2014

A musician made for live audiences

Brian Lubega is an upcoming  gospel artiste who keeps a low profile.

Brian Lubega is an upcoming gospel artiste who keeps a low profile. PHOTO BY RACHEL AJWANG. 

Simple, gifted and hard to understand is how Brian Lubega, a gospel artiste, describes himself. He is of average height and dark complexion which is contrary to what is seen of him on posters for his concerts. No trendy hairstyle, clothing to show for his musical genius as the others in the industry do.
It is the voice that is recognisable for his hit single Nungamya, the song trending on airwaves on Christian radio stations.

On the day of the interview, Lubega was only hours away to a charity concert. He was relaxed. Although he started singing in 2003 when he was in secondary school, it was not until 2011 that Lubega became professional after being influenced by Christianity. “Christianity brought meaning to my life. So, I enjoy singing music that inspires people,” he says.

While he admits that he sings other music genres like ragga, reggae and Afro beat among others. “Many people think I’m fit to do Jazz worship because of my reserved appearance,” he says.

Comfortable with live audience
Lubega finds it more comfortable doing live performances because he has been leading worship indifferent churches in Uganda and in other countries.
“It is hard for me to produce songs because I cannot see a live audience. When I’m writing, I visualise the audience,” he says. He has performed at a couple of churches such as Kampala Baptist Church.

Although he gets positive feedback from his fans, some say his music cannot penetrate the market. “I don’t care about the market, I care about God,” he chips in. Or is it because God is his everything?

Orphaned at a young age, and now a few days shy of celebrating his 29th birthday, Lubega is grateful for how far he has come. “How do you explain pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Theology without paying a cent and then going on to lead worship?” He wonders.

How he started
“I started out as a volunteer for Youth for Christ ministries during my Senior Six vacation. It is here that I took part in different outreaches and sponsorship came his way to study at World shapers Academy in England,” Lubega he recounts.

But the rising star has not had an all-smooth sail. “I have had to sacrifice a lot. I always want to deliver the best. I don’t want to do something which is not excellent,” he says.

Perhaps it is why he is no hurry to work with musicians already established.
“I’m a new face on the market and still scratching the industry to find those who blend with me,” he says.
His desire for uniqueness has also affected him financially.
“People are not willing to buy into the product because I never want to sing something people were used to. I desired to create something that was not common.” He has one album called Nungamya.

While several musicians would want to shoot to fame fast, Lubega admits that his music is just being introduced to the market. And to attest to this, his song, Nungamya, he says was composed in 2004, under challenging circumstances.
“I was looking for God’s direction. I had just returned from a country where I earned handsomely to where everything was totally different. I was at crossroads,” he recalls.

At that time, he was fasting and praying when he got hold of his guitar in his office and was in tears as he was writing. “I was praying and then the words started coming,” Lubega says.

“Music humbles me because people think I know how to write Luganda. Whenever I write songs, I use them in my prayer time.” He is able to pull off well-lyrically organised songs, thanks to his directors and producer who look out for the “broken” Luganda.

His message to others
The gospel artiste says the up and coming artistes should know that everything has it timing. They should also take time to do fine work. “Way back, producers used to “eat” my money but it was a good beginning. Do the right thing at the right time to have valuable results,” he says.

“The artistes should not panic and remember the source of our faith. Do not allow anyone to put you under pressure. If you have to walk, do so, we are human beings but filled with the Spirit of God,” he concludes.